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Tokyo Day Trip: Nikko or Hakone? 2019/10/29 12:29
Hey there,

My girlfriend and I are heading to Japan next week, and we are trying to decide on a day trip from Tokyo. Ideally, we would like to do something nature-oriented, especially somewhere that will offer some nice fall foliage. We have already purchased a 7-day JR pass, so we'd like to use it as much as possible once we activate it on our fourth day.

Just to give you a breakdown of our itinerary, here's where we're staying:

Four days in Tokyo >
Four days in Kyoto >
Return to Tokyo for one last night >
Fly back to NYC (home)

And if not Nikko or Hakone, where would you suggest?

Thanks so much!
by samfrombrooklyn  

Re: Tokyo Day Trip: Nikko or Hakone? 2019/10/29 16:06
I'd suggest Nikko. It's elevation may work in your favor and you have lakes and a waterfall. Never been to Hakone, so I cannot compare the two.
by John B digs Japan rate this post as useful

Re: Tokyo Day Trip: Nikko or Hakone? 2019/10/29 17:12
I'd suggest Kamakura and Enoshima. They are not wild natural, but lots to see and do. Otherwise maybe Nikko because Hakone has taken a bit of a beating in the typhoon, or Karuizawa might have autumn colours and there is a great hike (walk) from the top of town to a lookout and temple https://www.japan-guide.com/e/e6035.html

Best dango I've ever eaten at the cafe across from the temple there
by Lazy Pious (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Tokyo Day Trip: Nikko or Hakone? 2019/10/29 17:22
Both have been hard hit by typhoon. Nikko has different elevation. Although most of the high elevation leaves got wiped out, fall foliage is still developing in lower elevation. In Hakone, Lake Ashi got flooded and several transportation got suspended. So, I guess Nikko is the better option in the mean time.
by jmisugi rate this post as useful

Re: Tokyo Day Trip: Nikko or Hakone? 2019/10/29 22:10
As per the front page of this website yesterday Nikko is already beyond peak colour https://www.japan-guide.com/blog/koyo19/191028_nikko.html So I would also suggest Kamakura & Enoshima as a lovely & relaxing day trip
by Stan Norrell rate this post as useful

Re: Tokyo Day Trip: Nikko or Hakone? 2019/10/30 02:07
Thank you all so much for the recommendations! Any and all input really, really helps.
by samfrombrooklyn rate this post as useful

Re: Tokyo Day Trip: Nikko or Hakone? 2019/10/30 05:10
Kamakura is kind of like a mini-Kyoto in that it is dense with shrines and temples. So to me it seems like it would be a little bit redundant if you will already be spending 4 day in Kyoto.

Nikko is really impressive, even without leaves.

You could also consider Mount Takao if you don't want to spend so much time on the train. It's less than an hour from central Tokyo.

Mt Fuji may still have some good color by next week and it is about 2 hours by bus from Tokyo.

by Me2 (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Tokyo Day Trip: Nikko or Hakone? 2019/10/30 05:46
Personally, since you bought the rail pass and I would want to get the most bang for my buck, I would day trip to either Nikko, Karuizawa or Nagano. And yes, as long as the shinkansen are back up and running Nagano is a super easy day trip of about 90 minutes.

From Nagano you can take a bus to Togakushi shrine or see Zenkoji within Nagano or see the snow monkeys or there are just lots of options. (the bus is additional as would be going to snow monkeys)

You could also think about Sendai and Matsushima as a day trip, on a Hayabusa/Komaxhi shinkansen the trip to Sendai is pretty fast. While there won't be as much fall foliage because Matsushima is known for its pine trees, it's still a delight in the Autumn. (the boat trip is additional as would be local buses around Sendai.)

I really like Kamakura and Hakone can be nice, but you should honestly take advantage of your rail pass and go somewhere that would be harder to reach without said pass for a day trip. (It's also why I wouldn't go to Kawaguchiko, the rail pass doesn't cover the whole trip and there is an additional fee for private line tracks that is within 1000 yen of the price of the bus ticket.) You have a Pass, use it!
by rkold rate this post as useful

Re: Tokyo Day Trip: Nikko or Hakone? 2019/10/30 05:53
And honestly, since you're presumably in Brooklyn, if you want to see some great Fall foliage just rent a car and visit Litchfield County CT or just drive up to Sturbridge MA along I84. during the Autumn. It can be stunning. I'm no longer living in CT, but my dinky town use to have beautiful foliage I could admire while just running my errands.
by rkold rate this post as useful

Re: Tokyo Day Trip: Nikko or Hakone? 2019/10/30 09:02
Thanks again for all the help! We definitely do want to utilize the JR Pass since we shelled out the money for it. Ideally, we would like to choose somewhere that will put us in nature, ideally hiking and exploring. Shrines and history are less concern for this day trip since we'll be doing plenty of that in Kyoto. In a perfect world, finding a combination of utilizing the JR pass, seeing some fall foliage, and getting in a good hike would be the perfect day trip for us! Nikko is still high on our list, even if it's past its autumnal peak.
by samfrombrooklyn rate this post as useful

Re: Tokyo Day Trip: Nikko or Hakone? 2019/10/30 10:12
Hi!

If your main goals are actual hiking (not just walking around) and to use the pass, Nikko is hands down the best choice since there are actual hikes you can do in the area I think there is also a lot of actual hiking near Nasu-Shiobara and Urabandai.
https://www.japan-guide.com/e/e7752.html

Urabandai would be a longer day trip, but if you got up early, it is definitely possible. I've gone many times to Ononiimachi as a day trip from Tokyo.
by rkold rate this post as useful

Re: Tokyo Day Trip: Nikko or Hakone? 2019/10/30 17:29
Combining Hakone and the neighboring castle town of Odawara....would be a refreshing day trip and give you different options depending on how you feel. Hakone has the lake and hot spring...Odawara has a castle and is by the sea...there is wonderful hiking in Hakone and some of the best views of Fuji...if you hike for it (like hiking up Mt. Kintoki)
https://hakone-japan.com/plan-your-trip/stories/see-do/hiking-in-hakon...
by Momokintaro rate this post as useful

Re: Tokyo Day Trip: Nikko or Hakone? 2019/10/30 17:35
Shuzenji is also really pretty, and a nice trip.

Or down to Ito and go to the Ito Shaboten which is great (cactus burger and cactus icecream - awesome......)
by Lazy Pious (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Tokyo Day Trip: Nikko or Hakone? 2019/10/30 21:49
Toshogu Shrine, which is lower than Lake Chuzenji, will welcome autumn leaves
It is a state of Toshogu shrine and Oku-Nikko of the day before the day
https://youtu.be/g6ThxJTSBUo
https://youtu.be/SKAb6iYQkBc
by DEEP JAPAN (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Tokyo Day Trip: Nikko or Hakone? 2019/10/31 03:27
Another place you could consider is:
https://www.japan-guide.com/e/e6951.html

(now that the limited expresses between Tokyo and Matsumoto are up and running)

It might have foliage, it looks like some degree of hiking and nature. And it is likely to be off the beaten path in terms of crowds too.

Good luck!

by rkold rate this post as useful

Re: Tokyo Day Trip: Nikko or Hakone? 2019/10/31 03:57
Thanks again, everyone!

Nishizawa Keikoku looks really cool. I'm not sure what the leaves will be like on the day of our trip — 11/08 — but I'm sure it's beautiful regardless. Is it possible to get to the actual hiking trail via public transit?
by samfrombrooklyn rate this post as useful

Re: Tokyo Day Trip: Nikko or Hakone? 2019/10/31 05:01
According to JG, yes. I've not personally gone. I'm only so into hiking. This is actual hiking, should wear hiking boots hiking. You can read some reviews about it on TripAdvisor.

There is a direct limited express train from Shinjuku to Yamanashishi Station and from there you would take a bus. I can't find the current bus schedule, perhaps someone better at Japanese can. I would if you decide to go there specifically make a new thread requesting those times or you can try seeing if your accommodations or the JR East office in Tokyo can help. (The line builds quickly there.) I believe all of the prefectures also have little offices in Japan, but I am unsure where the one for Yamanashi-ken is.

If it were me, to be safe I would also make sure to get a copy of a taxi # and just have money for a cab just in case. Here is the Yamanashi website:
https://www.yamanashi-kankou.jp/english/

Pretty much most places outside of Kawaguchiko in Yamanashi-ken don't get a lot of foreign tourists and there is a lot of nature and hiking.
by rkold rate this post as useful

Re: Tokyo Day Trip: Nikko or Hakone? 2019/11/2 06:58
At this point, I think we are just leaning toward Nikko. Even if most of the fall leaves have peaked, it seems like a great place to visit!
by samfrombrooklyn rate this post as useful

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